My letter to Rep. Linda Lawson.

Dear Representative Lawson,

I would like to personally thank you, for not only your work as a sex crimes prosecutor, but your comments to Rep. Turner after he made his ludicrous argument that women will falsely claim rape and incest in order to obtain an abortion.

I am a sexual assault survivor. After a long road of recovery, I am now a volunteer medical advocate for a sexual assault service center in Will County, Illinois. Your strength of heart and will came through very clearly during your rebuttal and brought tears to my eyes. If I had had an advocate like you on my side, I may have attempted prosecution against my rapist. Unfortunately, I was assaulted by a police officer. When I presented myself at the hospital for treatment, three police officers responded and verbally attacked me in the waiting room. This treatment caused me to shut down. I almost left the hospital instead of receiving treatment. I can only imagine that their behavior was an attempt to ensure that my allegations would be silenced in fear. It worked.

We as advocates know that a small number of assaults are ever reported to the police and an even smaller number ever make it to prosecution. What will happen to survivors if our government insists on assaulting them again when they attempt to seek the medical intervention that they are constitutionally entitled to? Please know that this survivor supports you, as I am sure many others do. You are an inspiration to my healing heart. I want to thank you again for all that you do.

With great admiration and respect,

Michelle Cahill

Political Correctness… Liberal Hogwash or Necessary Behavior?

I am the black sheep in my family. I believe in protecting the environment and animals. I don’t believe that some book purported to be written by someone’s god gives anyone the right to rape the planet and abuse animals. I believe that people who “have” are morally obligated to be of assistance to those who “don’t”. I also believe that it is unacceptable to call people derogatory names based on their racial appearance. One, it’s freaking WRONG and two, what if you ARE wrong? In our country of ethnic mingling, what makes you so sure that your ignorant comment is even “correctly” misapplied? Okay, so I realize that there really doesn’t need to be an explanation of why calling someone a name is wrong. I also won’t go into detail listing them out. If you wouldn’t yell it out in a crowded room of strangers, you know it’s wrong.

So… obviously this is not anything new. But it is…

A personal experience with prejudice first. Shanna and I went to restaurant in our neighborhood. A restaurant that we frequent regularly. We sat down in our usual section when I noticed a table of three men behind Shanna. The man facing me was staring at me, in an extremely hostile fashion. I saw him mouth, “fucking dykes”. He began making pointed eye contact and making extremely hostile faces and swearing at me. Though not so loud that I or anyone else, could hear him. I was getting extremely pissed off. Shanna and I were sitting on opposite sides of the table and were doing nothing that could be construed as PDA or otherwise. Simply two females sitting at a table, in fact, we were meeting three of our male friends that night. All three of whom are high ranking martial arts teachers. One of whom is an MMA coach for a  team whose record is 21 wins to 1 loss. I knew the guys were coming and I was fairly certain that these men were not going to do anything more than sit at the table and make comments (read: cowards). When Shanna asked if we should leave, I adamantly remained put. One, I wasn’t going to let a few bigots ruin my night, but I wasn’t sure that we would be safe if we left the building and went into the dark parking lot. I was aflame with righteous indignation. How dare they!

Yet, I learned that I was still a little bit prejudiced. Not very long ago, I was training for my volunteer work as a  medical advocate for a sexual assault service center. During one particular class, we were having a conversation about prejudice. One of the ladies in the class brought up her dislike at being referred to as African-American, as she was of Jamaican descent. Another girl asked what she would like to be referred to as. She simply responded, “black”. Another said, “well, what do you want us to do? Black was considered ignorant, now African-American is considered rude. What would you have us do?” I wasn’t being my usual vocal self, because I thought by referring to a black person as an African-American I was being politically correct. In actuality, I was still being prejudiced. If someone called me English-American just because I was white, I wouldn’t appreciate that. I am much more diverse and a large part of my lineage is Irish. That part bristles at being called English. So, I can understand her point. Her point? Take the time to get to know someone before making a decision about who they are. That’s what being politically correct is. Not being so arrogant that we think we know something about a person when we don’t even know their name. This all comes down to seeing people in color instead of in spirit or as human. It’s all about labels. In my opinion, labels are for soup cans.

I was looking at images that illustrate political correctness. All the images where about how a politically correct society makes us communists or setting ourselves up for a terrorist attack. Pardon my language, but that is bullshit. If we take the time to get to know the people around us, we lose the preconceived notions that we create about who they are. We become more vulnerable to treating people as equal and we have to give everyone the same chance. This means that we cannot believe that someone is inherently wrong or bad because they are different than us. Being different makes us interesting and beautiful and special. It doesn’t make us strange or bad or untrustworthy. So, what’s wrong with a little PC behavior?

copyright 2011 Michelle Cahill

’cause this is easier than moving the furniture…again

So, I am making a domain switch. Why? Because apparently WordPress is better than Blogger. Or, at least, that’s what they say. Who are they? I have no clue.  So, I ask you nicely to be patient with me as I make the 9,547 changes required to bring you that which you love.

More of me.

Soul Searching…

I am a proponent of the New American Spirituality. The New American Spirituality is the result of the blending of various cultures and belief systems which mix and mingle in our little corner of the globe. Then we, as Americans, pick and choose that which fits us best.

This is a threat to organized religions. Most religions exist on the fear of damnation, if you don’t follow their mandates and precepts you will certainly receive the punishment of eternal hell. What organized religion REALLY requires to survive, is the financial contributions of their followers. With all this influence, there is not a single organized religion that has solved any global issue. In fact, MOST have made global plagues like war and famine worse. Can you imagine what would happen if all the followers of the various world religions stood up and said they would withdraw their support if their church leaders didn’t undertake a position of peace and spiritual honesty?

I have recently said that atheism suits my current state of mind better than any other option. However, I think I am becoming agnostic. Whatever I am, I feel like I am wasting my time by trying to define it. What is the purpose of a label, but to place someone in a little box? Labels exist less in a climate of inclusion and more in a climate of discrimination. Labels help others point and say, “you’re a ______”. I really don’t want to BE anything but me. A me full of joy, love and peace.

So, I will continue my personal “New American Spiritual Journey” with Kundalini yoga, Reiki and a  Zen Buddhist meditation practice. My purpose on this planet has less to do with being a nameless, faceless member of a flock and more of a life full of purpose and assistance to my fellow travelers on this Earthly journey. If you need a shoulder to lean on or an all natural homemade hair conditioner, a friend for yoga class and a cup of tea or some Reiki time, just let me know. At the end of my time here, what will matter most is that what I did was a benefit to those around me. Not how much money I tithed to an institution that is one of the wealthiest in the world. I’d rather serve at a soup kitchen.

 

copyright 2011 Michelle Cahill